Kickstart your January! (FREEBIES and GIVEAWAY)

We all LOVE break and dread look forward to going back to school!  No matter if we like it or not it will come!  I just love putting together these monthly posts to help prepare for the new month!  This posts will be filled with ideas and a giveaway, too…yippee!  I will over FLASH freebies on two of my center packets, $100 savings on centers returns, a closer look at Taking Back Weekends, a Really Good Stuff $175 giveaway, and LOTS of additional freebies!

We will start with something FUN and EXCITING…..FLASH FREEBIES!  As you know I released THEMED centers later this past spring!  The bundles vary in grade level and the themes covered in each!  Below you will be able to download the FLASH freebies of two of the center packets included!  The first set (Bears) is part of my Kindergarten Set #2 bundle and the following freebie is (Penguins) from my First Grade Set #1!  Be sure to download these freebies as they will only last through 1/2!

FLASH FREEBIE #1: Click *HERE* or on the image below to download the freebie set of Bear centers for Kinder!


FLASH FREEBIE #2: Click *HERE* or on the image below to download the freebie set of Penguin centers for first grade!


100Needing to replenish your center stash?  Snag each of my center bundles!  The bundles come with 250 centers and are on sale for $100 off through 1/2/17!  That’s 250 centers for $25!


Up next, I would like to visit about my Taking Back Weekends packets!  I now have kinder and first grade!  Second grade I hear ya and hope to get your set started soon!  So, a lot of teachers ask me what makes these packets stand out from my other packets/bundles.  Teachers also want to know if these packets are repeats.  First off, these packets are all original material and centers!  So, if you own an alternate packet of mine… these won’t be repeated!  They are all new! Second, these packets are unique in the fact that EVERYTHING within that monthly packet is themed!  They are perfect to pull out in a time that you are in a pinch and need material quick!

 January is by far the best month to try out one of these packets!  They truly are lifesavers!  If you are a new or veteran teacher they will provide new and fresh ideas.  They are great for those “Oh gosh what am I going to today?” moments we might have from time to time. Ha!  Not that we ever have those! 😉

Below is a closer look at the kindergarten January packet!

You can view below a preview of the packet, but here is an overview of what is included!

Writing Activities {30 pages}: All About Winter Books, Making a Winter List, Snowman How to Writing, Opinion Writing Story Starters, Winter Pictionary, & Writing Journals, winter break sequential story organizers, guided story starters.

Math Activities {35 pages}: Snowflake Line Up {whole group & independent}, Snowflake Ten Frames- Teen Numbers, Penguin Addition/Subtraction {whole group & independent}, Winter Addition/Subtraction Practice Sheets, Analyzing Graphs, Place Value Practice Sheets

Word Work Activities {20 pages}: Winter Sort –beginning & final sound versions, Vowel the Owl Sort {short vowel sort- a, e, i, o, u}, Digraph Sort- th, sh, ch, Silent “e” Word Match Ups, Penguin in the Middle-medial sounds, Snowball Change Up-manipulating beginning sounds

Content Activities {8 pages}: Ideas and writing activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, simple science experiment ideas

Recess Ideas {5 pages}

Simple Print Sub Plan Activities {12 pages}: Instruction page for substitute and activities for read aloud, writing, math, & word work. All needed materials included.

Teacher Organization {10 pages}: January calendars, winter thank you cards, to do lists.

Below is a closer look at inside the January packet!


If you interested in snagging the complete KINDERGARTEN TAKING BACK WEEKENDS BUNDLE you can snag the complete year for 65% off and grab the bundle for $20!


Below we will take a closer look at the 1st grade taking back weekends!

You can view the first grade version in a complete video here!

The complete 1st grade Taking Back Weekends bundle is currently on sale for 75% off!  This savings is through 1/2!  You can snag the COMPLETE year for $12! –This bundle is growing with March, April, and May still needing to be added (You’ll get those additions for free once purchasing the bundle.)


 No post is complete without a giveaway 😉  In January I think of it being a new start….now in teaching we usually think of our restart button being over summer.  However, there is just something about a ‘refresh’ button in January… that just gives you the push you need to get through the end of the year!  Now, I won’t say that I’m not crazy… but for me a reset is usually something visually appealing!  You know like…rearranging the classroom furniture, organizing ‘that’ junk drawer, wiping down desks…you know the fun stuff!  Ha!  One of the best “resets” I ever did in my classroom was to spruce up my book boxes!  I used to have a set of primary colored bins…. but they just didn’t pop for me anymore!  Purchasing new bins a few years back was for sure a RESET!

So….why am I rambling about book bins?  Because one of YOU will win FOUR sets of new book bins! YAY!  Each set (12) can be a different color and you can choose your own color scheme!  All of my book bins came from Really Good Stuff and they have held up great! Be sure to scroll a little further to sign up for the giveaway using the Rafflecopter.

Below is a look how I paired: blue, green, pink, and purple bins into my classroom decor!  My classroom library had a sure POP after the new bins!

I paired the new bins with Maria’s library labels and I was in library heaven! Ha!

I also used my extra bins to organize my KinderLiteracy books!

I was able to organize the unit lesson plans and corresponding books into one bin!

Again, I am giving away 4 sets (12 per set) of book bins to one lucky teacher!!!!   You can enter directly below!  The giveaway will close 1/2 🙂 You can view THIS link to pick out your favorite colors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How about we talk a little fine motor fun?  I had first started these fun fine motor tubs in my classroom last fall!  They were a hit so changing them out each season became a must!

Explore tubs have been added as a option to my daily five/guided reading time.  I also use explore tubs as an option during indoor recess {we seem to have that a lot}.  I have eight explore tubs but that is just because that’s how many nicely fit onto the shelf- – no other reason ha!

Alright, up first… pony beads and pipe cleaners!  Well, you might be saying, “Golly we have done this every month!”  However, this is such an important skill and one that our students tend to lack!  I was so surprised to see that this skill AKA pincer grasp should really be developed by 12 months of age! With the pincer grasp the student uses their index finger and thumb, or the index and middle fingers opposing the thumb, to pick up small objects.  The student at this age should be able to pick up and place items in a controlled manner.

So, for this fine motor tub I purchased some fancier pipe cleaners to resemble icicles from Amazon HERE.  However, I also saw it at Walmart!  After scrambling around for different color beads I splurged and purchased a large set of pony beads at Walmart for $11!  It will have all the different colors I will want for each season!


Make an igloo! For this explore tub the students will need small paper drinking glasses or bathroom cups.  You will also want to decide between small marshmallows or small cotton balls.  Honestly, I see the benefits of both…but the marshmallows will for sure be stickier- – see that as you want ha!  The kiddos will also need glue!


You will want to pre-cut the igloo entrance so the kiddos don’t have to worry about that.  They will be gluing their marshmallows/cotton balls to the paper cup creating an igloo!  Be sure to express the importance of kiddos letting it sit and not trying to transport it while it is wet!


Explore in “snow!”  For this explore tub you can again choose between cotton balls or marshmallows!  The marshmallows will quickly harden and not be as sticky, but again completely up to you and if you have any sneaky eaters you might need to stick with cotton balls!  I also snagged these explore tools from Amazon HERE.  However, simple tweezers or clothespin will work just as good!


Write it in the “snow!”  For this explore tub I placed some table salt into a take home container.  I then printed off some number and sight word cards!  The kids simply will write the word in the “snow.”  You can download those freebie sight word flashcards here!

Build a 3D snowflake!  For this explore tub you will want to print off these freebie cards and then gather your supplies.  I chose to use craft sticks and foam balls.  However, this would also work just as well with small marshmallows and toothpicks/craft sticks!  You can choose what would be best for your kiddos!  With the foam balls my kids have to reuse the supplies so they are not able to take them home.  If you were using marshmallows you might choose for them to take them home after they are finished!

Build a wintry tower!  Students will be working on that pincer grasp once again!  They will make a small playdoh platform and the stick their tooth pick or craft stick into the playdoh.  They will then place the pony beads onto the stick one at a time!

Building 3D Shapes!

If you are also studying shapes now like my kiddos you can have the kiddos practice building shapes with yet again…marshmallows and toothpicks!  Rachelle Rosenbilt has a freebie set of cards you can print off HERE!

Fine Motor Winter Mats!

You can also print off these freebie winter fine motor mats below for your kiddos!  They can use pony beads, perler beads, marshmallows, fuzzy poms, or cotton balls! Click the image below to download!

Now for my some additional freebies!  Grab these freebie opinion writing story starters for your winter months! Just click below to download them.

Are you wanting to jump into close reads?  This FREEBIE nonfiction penguin close read is a fantastic place to start!  Click below to snag it!


Keeping with penguins….you have seen these ADORABLE penguin crafts from Miss Kindergarten?  We made these last year and they are ….FAB!  You can download this freebie by clicking below!


Below is my dated writing paper for January 2017!  Download it by clicking below!

If you are needing some additional ideas for January in your class you can click below to view my Winter Pinterest board!

Have a SUPER and FANTASTIC end to your winter break!  You deserve it! 🙂


  1. Awesome ideas and freebies! Thank you! I am going to purchase your weekends product. Do you have a product which has all of your fine motor tub ideas listed? Thanks so much
    Melissa Agner

  2. WOW! I have resisted anything work related since my break began. Until today! Thank you for the great ideas and motivation for the upcoming month. Happy New Year to you! Peggy Rock Island, Il

  3. Such an awesome post! Thank you so much for all the ideas and freebies! My kids love the explore tubs, so I really thank you for all those ideas! I am beyond grateful for all your posts and products, you have made my transition into a kindergarten teacher, so easy this year! Thanks so much for all your hard work!

    1. I haven’t actually submitted before but I know several have already! I think you maybe just click that you have done that or if able to just put in your email that should work
      : D

  4. Thank you so much, Tara. I am a reading interventionist for grades K-5 and have found some very useful things in the files you so generously shared. Have a good start to your new year! Liz

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